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Wealth and the Demand for Art in Italy represents a departure from previous studies, both in its focus on demand and in its emphasis on the history of the material culture of the West. By demonstrating that the roots of modern consumer society can be found in Renaissance Italy, Richard Goldthwaite offers a significant contribution to the growing body of literature on the history of modern consumerism—a movement which he regards as a positive force for the formation of new attitudes about things that is a defining characteristic of modern culture.
Clarifies and explains the complex workings of Florence's commercial, banking, and artisan sectors. This book focuses on the urban economy of Florence itself, including various industries, merchants, artisans, and investors.
Does a market economy encourage or discourage music, literature, and the visual arts? Do economic forces of supply and demand help or harm the pursuit of creativity? This book seeks to redress the current intellectual and popular balance and to encourage a more favorable attitude toward the commercialization of culture that we associate with modernity. Economist Tyler Cowen argues that the capitalist market economy is a vital but underappreciated institutional framework for supporting a plurality of co-existing artistic visions, providing a steady stream of new and satisfying creations, supporting both high and low culture, helping consumers and artists refine their tastes, and paying homage to the past by capturing, reproducing, and disseminating it. Contemporary culture, Cowen argues, is flourishing in its various manifestations, including the visual arts, literature, music, architecture, and the cinema. Successful high culture usually comes out of a healthy and prosperous popular culture. Shakespeare and Mozart were highly popular in their own time. Beethoven's later, less accessible music was made possible in part by his early popularity. Today, consumer demand ensures that archival blues recordings, a wide array of past and current symphonies, and this week's Top 40 hit sit side by side in the music megastore. High and low culture indeed complement each other. Cowen's philosophy of cultural optimism stands in opposition to the many varieties of cultural pessimism found among conservatives, neo-conservatives, the Frankfurt School, and some versions of the political correctness and multiculturalist movements, as well as historical figures, including Rousseau and Plato. He shows that even when contemporary culture is thriving, it appears degenerate, as evidenced by the widespread acceptance of pessimism. He ends by considering the reasons why cultural pessimism has such a powerful hold on intellectuals and opinion-makers.
Awarded the Howard R. Marraro Prize by the American Historical Association "Always fascinating... The reader will get from Goldthwaite's book on the economics of architecture a more lively and more authentic impression of life in Renaissance Florence than from many more general descriptions of Florentine culture." -- Felix Gilbert, New York Review of Books.
The history of coffee is much more than the tale of one nonessential good--it is a lens through which to consider various strands of world history, from food and foodways to religion and economics and sociocultural history. A Rich and Tantalizing Brew traces the history of the coffee bean, beginning with its cultivation and brewing as a private pleasure in the highlands of Ethiopia and Yemen before its emergence as a common comfort, first in the Muslim world, then across the Mediterranean to Italy, other parts of Europe, and beyond to India and the Americas. At each of these stops the brew gathered ardent aficionados and vocal critics, all the while reshaping the social landscape. Taking its conversational tone from the chats often held over a steaming cup, A Rich and Tantalizing Brew offers a critical and entertaining look at how this bitter beverage, with a little help from the tastes that traveled with it--chocolate, tea, and sugar--has connected people to each other both within and outside of their typical circles, inspiring a new context for sharing news, conducting business affairs, and even plotting revolution.
Dieser dritte Band der dreiteiligen Sforza-Serie beschäftigt sich erneut mit einem sehr interessanten weiblichen Mitglied dieser berühmten mailändischen Dynastie, der neapolitanischen Königstochter Isabella von Aragon (1470-1524), die auf ihrem ersten offiziellen Porträt als Herzogin von Mailand leider im Laufe der Geschichte von den Kunsthistorikern zur florentinischen Kaufmannsfrau „Mona Lisa“ degradiert wurde. Da half auch nicht, dass ihr Hofmaler Leonardo da Vinci sie, als er ihr Porträt im Frühling 1489 erstellte, in dem Trauerkleid der mailändischen Herzoginnen, welches jene in der zweiten Phase anlässlich des Todes eines Mitgliedes ihrer Familie anlegten, darstellte und sie noch zusätzlich mit wichtigen Symbolen ihrer Dynastie schmückte. Dabei gehörte Isabella von Aragon zu den berühmtesten adligen Damen der italienischen Renaissance. Nur von ihrer Großmutter Bianca Maria Visconti und ihrer Cousine und Schwägerin Caterina Sforza sind im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert so viele Porträts erstellt worden wie von ihr. Als einzige Frau fand sie zudem in dem im 16. Jahrhundert sehr geschätzten Werk von Paolo Giovio († 1552), dem „Vitae virorum illustrium“, in dem nur das Leben berühmter Männer der Renaissance beschrieben wurde, Eingang, da sie laut des Autors ihr großes Unglück wie ein Mann ertragen habe. Über ihr Privatleben sind nach dem Tod ihres ersten Gatten, des mailändischen Herzogs Gian Galeazzo II. Maria Sforza, im Jahr 1494 und ihrer Absetzung als Herzogin von Mailand durch ihren Onkel Lodovico Maria il Moro Sforza im Jahr 1495 kaum noch schriftliche Aufzeichnungen zu finden. Es bietet sich jedoch noch eine andere Möglichkeit an, dieser berühmten Dame auf die Spur zu kommen: die spezifische Symbolik ihrer Dynastie, mit der sie von ihren zeitgenössischen Malern in ihren Darstellungen reichlich versehen wurde. Diese bildlichen zeitgenössischen Quellen, die bisher leider von den Historikern vollkommen übersehen worden sind, liefern uns nicht nur weitere Informationen über Isabella von Aragon, sondern auch über ihren geliebten Hofmaler und besten Freund Leonardo da Vinci, der seit 1497 eine sehr wichtige Rolle in ihrem Leben einnehmen sollte.
Connecting Art Markets proposes that vertically-integrated art dealers operating on a large scale acted as cultural mediators, and offers an aggregate view that connects artistic and market developments at both sides of the Atlantic.

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